What it costs to close CA courts

A gavel and sound block.

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: An economic forecast out this morning sees the U.S. busting out of recession with better than 2 percent growth this quarter and next. But the UCLA Anderson forecast also says growth will stay modest and unemployment will average 10 percent through next year. In California, make that above 10 percent unemployment until late the following year.

Even some Californians who have jobs are going unpaid today. In a money-saving move, California courts are closed for one day
and many court employees are furloughed. This is going to happen once a month. Marketplace's Jeff Tyler looks at the repercussions.


Jeff Tyler: Three million cases will be delayed today because state courts are closed for business. What impact will it have?

Annette Ruiz-Vides: People who are in jail will be there longer without a hearing or a trial, costing the county money and further overcrowding of our jails. Criminal cases will be dismissed because of missed timelines.

That's Annette Ruiz-Vides, an accounting assistant at the Superior Court in Redwood City. She represents court workers with the Service Employees International Union. She says furloughs will cost her about $80 a day in lost wages. That adds up. Over the next year, furloughs are expected to save California courts around $90 million.

Stephen Levy is director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy. He says a day off is better than a layoff.

Stephen Levy: Furloughs spread the pain, and then layoffs, people get devastated because they have to get a job in this horrible recession.

Furloughs at California courts will continue through next June.

I'm Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace’s Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.

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